Global crude steel output rises 3.7% on year in September: World Steel Association

Global crude steel production in September climbed on a year-on-year basis for the first time in 2022, rising 3.7% on the year to 151.7 million mt, with production increases in China offsetting decreases in most regions, according to World Steel Association, or worldsteel, data released Oct. 25.

The global monthly production volume was also 2% higher from August’s production levels, reaching a three-month high.

China’s production registered an increase of 17.6% year on year and a 3.7% increase month on month to 87 million mt, which accounted for 57.3% of the total volume and also reached a three-month high.

This brought total global production for the first nine months of 2022 to 1.41 billion mt, down 4.3% year on year, with China’s production for the period dropping 3.4% to 780 million mt, worldsteel said.

Second largest global producer, India, saw crude steel output rise 1.8% on the year in September to 9.9 million mt, although this was 2.5% lower from August levels, bringing the country’s nine-month total to 93.3 million mt, up 6.4% on the year.

Iran’s production increased 26.7% on the year and increased 33% from August to 2.7 million mt, with the January-to-September total rising 9.8% to 22.2 million mt.

Meanwhile, all other top-10 steel producing countries saw production fall in September.

Japan’s September production totaled 7.1 million mt, down 12.3% on the year and 3% lower from August, with January-August output also lower on the year at 67.8 million mt, the data showed.

The North American region saw output decrease 7.6% on the year to 9.1 million mt, with the US producing 6.6 million mt, down 7.5% on the year and down 4.2% month on month to a seven-month low.

South America recorded a 9.6% year-on-year production decrease to 3.5 million mt in September, which was also down 3.8% from August. The main producer, Brazil, produced 2.7 million mt, down 11.7% on the year and down 3.4% from August to also reach a seven-month low.

For the nine-month period, US output dropped 4.3% to 61.5 million mt, while Brazil production was down 5.3% to 25.9 million mt, worldsteel data showed.

Countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States region, including Ukraine, saw production fall 21.9% on the year in September to 6.7 million mt.

Russia – the fifth largest worldwide producer – was estimated to have produced 5.7 million mt, down 6.8% year on year and down 3.2% from the previous month. The drop was likely due to western sanctions imposed on Russian steel products due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. In the first nine months of 2022, Russian production dropped 6% on the year to an estimated 54.6 million mt, the data showed.

South Korea produced 4.6 million mt of steel in September, down 15.4% on the year and also 22.4% lower than August to the lowest monthly volume since S&P Global Commodity Insights’ records began in January 2018.

For the January-September period, South Korea registered a production decrease of 4.4% to 50.5 million mt.

European production falls 17.2% on year

Meanwhile, the whole of Europe, including the UK, registered a production decrease of 17.2% on the year to 14.2 million mt in September, which 7.6% higher than August levels and brought the nine-month total to 140.4 million mt, down 8.5% on the year.

Europe’s largest steel producer, Germany, produced 2.8 million mt in September, down 15.4% on the year and down 1.1% month on month to the lowest level since August 2020. Germany’s nine-month output was also down 6% on the year to 28.2 million mt.

The weak data followed a number of facilities across Europe being idled in response to weaker steel demand and higher costs, especially due to energy costs.

Platts assessed domestic HRC prices in Northern Europe at Eur730/mt ex-works Ruhr Sept. 30, down 20.8% since the start of 2022, according to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Turkey produced 2.7 million mt of crude steel in September, down 19.4% year on year and down 5.9% on the month. In the first nine months of the year, Turkey registered a decrease of 9.3% to 27.3 million mt of production.

Steel production from electric arc furnaces fell 23.8% on the year in September to 866,000 mt, while production from basic oxygen furnaces was down 11.2% on the year to 1.98 million mt, the data showed.

Total September production of pig iron from 38 countries was 106.8 million mt, up 3.6% year on year, the data showed, while direct reduced iron produced worldwide amounted to 9.3 million mt, up 12.7% year on year, the data showed.

Pig iron output over the January-September period totaled 971.8 million mt, down 4.4% year on year, while DRI production for the period rose 7.4% on the year to 82.5 million mt.

Crude steel data covers the 64 countries that report to worldsteel, accounting for about 98% of the world’s crude steel production.

— Annalisa Villa, Jacqueline Holman